Market Needs Freedom to Flourish

The world’s economy is being damaged by this pandemic, or, more accurately, it’s being damaged by government reactions to the pandemic.

The damage is adding up; getting worse with time. The only questions are: How bad is the damage going to be? And how long will it take to recover?

I don’t know the answers; no one does.

The economy will show scars of this time for years to come. Maybe forever. There are businesses that were forcibly closed and are never coming back. Whole sectors of the economy may die off from the damage. Sure, deadwood and weak branches were pruned away by the event, but there are some previously healthy limbs being torn off as well.

The authoritarian shut-down was just more than some businesses could survive.

The shutdown may turn out to be an economic extinction event, like an asteroid wiping out the dinosaurs, and, if so, there will be lots of vacant economic niches waiting to be filled. Perhaps they are waiting for you to fill them.

So it’s not all bad news.

The automobile may have killed off the buggy-whip market, but look at all the new markets it created. We wouldn’t have rear-view mirror pine tree air fresheners and thousands of other products if cars hadn’t reshaped the market.

Things change. We will recover. We will be different; stronger.

Some economic barriers have fallen away during this pandemic. Mostly bureaucratic nonsense like licensing and such — one example is letting doctors practice across state lines.

Government may try to put the barriers up again when this is over. Don’t let them. Anything that gets in the way during a pandemic also gets in the way during normal times, although it may not be as obvious.

Use your new knowledge to oppose those barriers being restored and notice other barriers that should be removed.

Those who can adapt will do better than those who can’t. Some people may be surprised to discover whether or not they are good at adapting.

There are always opportunities around you. Learn to spot them, and find ways to act on them.

This is something I’m not especially good at — my hope is that you are better at it than I am and that I can learn to do better.

The market will prevail if allowed to flourish in freedom. Only political parasites would try to hold it back. Watch carefully to see which side those with political power choose.

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“Liberty is good, but…”

I notice people’s buts. Not their butts (well, in some cases…); their “buts”.

They advocate liberty, but… and I notice.

“Liberty is good, but…”

…they believe government schooling (including vouchers, etc.) is necessary for education, and will discuss twiddling the dials, but never abolishing it.

…they still think the cops or military are somehow “good guys”.

…they imagine it’s OK to have government control who comes or goes, what you do with your property or body, etc. “For your own good.”

…they believe “taxation” is necessary for some things that no one wants bad enough to pay for voluntarily.

…they want to be protected from all the things they’re scared of.

…they insist you obey legislation, even if it’s unethical, until someone changes the “law”.

…they can’t imagine living without government telling them how they should live.

…and on and on and on.

It’s as though they are desperate to be taken seriously by government-supremacists for some reason. Maybe to be allowed a place at the table.

Or for a patronizing pat on the head.

Liberty doesn’t come with any buts. It just is. You either accept it as it is or you reject it.

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Time to Let People Take Own Risks

I would expect, given the record of failure, this coronavirus experience would cause people to reconsider their belief in the credibility of government. From past experience, I know hope — or something darker — springs eternal. Most people are desperate to believe government is capable and credible in spite of 5,000-plus years of evidence to the contrary.

As face masks become mandatory in more places, don’t forget those same government experts were ridiculing people who were wearing masks early; insisting masks didn’t work — and telling people to stop buying or wearing them — just weeks ago.

They have also been encouraging businesses to limit their hours of service, which forces more people into a business during fewer available hours, and they’re closing campgrounds and other places where people could physically distance in the healthy outdoors. Both policies are the opposite of helpful.

People choose to not remember the deadly errors, but view them as government taking decisive action to “flatten the curve.”

I understand the call to “flatten the curve” — especially in the early days of the pandemic when everyone was just guessing what might happen. We now know that’s not going to work. It’s time to let people make their own choices and take their own risks.

This will solve itself if people let it; faster if government stops dragging it out.

There’s not going to be a vaccine — not a real one, anyway. This virus is going to have to go through its natural cycle. If you’re going to catch the virus, it’s going to happen sooner or later. Since 80 percent of cases don’t cause symptoms, you may never know. You may have already had it.

Let the virus spread and naturally lose strength over time, as these types of viruses always do.

No, that’s not “safe.” Nothing is. Americans are giving up their liberty for promises of safety. Promises that were lies from the start. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin wrote those timeless words on Nov. 11, 1755.

Soon you may be forced to decide which is more dangerous — the virus, the government, or economic disaster — and act accordingly.

Every non-governmental job is essential! It’s time to do the adult thing and get back to normal life. Lead the way and force government policy to play catch-up, as it usually does. Recovery is, and has always been, up to you. Let’s get to it!

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Immunity through Exposure

On Thursday’s little road trip deeper into Texas, I spent some time in a park of sorts where I encountered poison ivy for the first time in decades.

When I was a kid I was horribly allergic to the stuff. I would break out just from being around it– and the reaction was painful enough I was very aware of when I was around it to try to avoid any contact with it with my skin or anything I might touch even days later. Yet it always got me. Every time. And considering that I spent almost all of my time in the woods, you can imagine what I went through.

Then when I was 14, I stood by and watched as a neighbor kid took a baseball bat to a thick poison ivy vine on the side of a tree. Stupid me!

The splatter, vapor, or fumes from the vine pretty much covered me and I got the worst case of poison ivy of my life. Then, just as I was getting over it I got chickenpox– and the pox LOVED the fresh, sensitive skin that was the result of the healing poison ivy rash. I became one giant pox, and actually couldn’t move one hand because it was a solid scab.

However, after I healed I discovered something nice. I was no longer allergic to poison ivy. Not even a little. It might as well have been spinach. I did careful experimentation until I was sure. Then I made it a habit to expose myself in a major way every chance I got. I never reacted again and eventually moved away from anywhere poison ivy (or its relatives) grew.

I had wondered recently whether my “immunity” had faded over time. But it looks like it hasn’t. I waded through thickets of poison ivy Thursday, got it on my skin and clothes, and didn’t react even a little.

In the same way, I believe I’m immune to statist thought. It holds no appeal to me. It isn’t on my list of possibilities when confronted with a problem. And, living in the modern, politics-twisted world, it is easy to keep being exposed so I know my immunity stays solid.

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The Family’s Drug Smuggler

Almost 30 years ago my extended family went to the southern tip of Texas for Christmas. One day during that week or so, we crossed into Mexico for a day of exploring and shopping in a little town.

I still have a couple of cheap Mexican pots I bought in a sparsely stocked store, and the empty bottle from the Mexican vanilla I bought.

I enjoyed the food, the sights, and even the strange semi-outdoor flushing outhouse with moss growing between the bricks on the floor, beautifully lit by sunlight shining through the holes in the roof. I would build one of those in my yard if I could build things.

I loved seeing the chickens roaming the street and the vendors trying to talk travelers into buying the hammocks they were selling. I had a great time.

While there, an adult female relative visited a pharmacy and stocked up on some medicine she needed which required a prescription in the Land of the Free and was consequently much more affordable there. I would have done the same.

At the end of the day, as we crossed through the police gate between tax farms, armed U.S. goons stopped us to look us over to see if we looked American enough and to question us. One of the few questions they asked was whether any of us had “any drugs or medications” we were bringing back with us. This female relative looked them in the eyes and said “No”.

After we were graciously allowed to resume our journey back to our vacation rental in America, and were safely away from the goons, I said: “You lied to them.

She didn’t understand, because she would never lie, and certainly not to officers of The Law. I said they asked whether we were bringing any drugs or medications back in and that she had said “no”. She said it wasn’t a lie; we didn’t have any illegal drugs. I said that’s not what they asked. (And technically, they probably would have disagreed with her anyway.)

Worse, yet, I approved of her lying to them. You don’t owe molesters the truth.

She never admitted she lied to them, and still fully supports the stupid and evil War on Politically Incorrect Drugs, and the prescription scam that goes along with it. But I know. And it makes me smile to remember it and to know she’s a once-upon-a-time drug smuggler.

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Reopening isn’t Politicians’ Call

To open or not to open; that is the question. But it’s the wrong question.

While there’s plenty of debate and disagreement over allowing businesses to re-open; when and how it should be done, the discussion misses the point completely.

No one had the right to shut down businesses they didn’t own. You don’t have the right to tell someone they must shut their business and you can’t delegate a right you don’t have. Not to a governor or anyone else. This means the authority to tell businesses to close shop, even temporarily due to an emergency, doesn’t exist.

The same applies to telling people they aren’t allowed to leave their house or to gather with groups of friends. To forbid people to gather is a clear violation of the First Amendment even if you agree and even if government employees are allowed to get away with it.

Nowhere does the Constitution say “unless there is an emergency and people are scared.” I know because I’ve checked.

Government employees can get away with making these rules because the people of America have been infected with a superstitious belief in political authority.

I understand the fears that lead people to accept such orders, even though I don’t share them.

I still believe you should be careful and shouldn’t do things that put others at too much risk.

Respecting liberty is always the right choice, but there are risks either way.

There is no policy that won’t cost lives. That option doesn’t exist, even in normal times. The best you can do with any policy is trade lives. Ignoring the virus would have cost lives; shutting the economy is costing lives; seeking some sort of middle ground costs lives, too. It’s time to stop this silliness.

The ethical thing to do is to remove government from the equation, let business owners decide when and how to re-open, and let individuals decide for themselves the amount of risk they are willing to accept.

If someone is not willing to accept risk to save America, they are perfectly free to self-quarantine inside their homes as I would assume they have already been doing.

This virus — or any other — is going to have to run its course, whether it happens in a month or in a year. It’s time to accept this and let it. I think you’ll discover the fear-mongering was overblown.

So, open or stay shut, but it was never the politicians’ decision to make.

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